Plenty of people struggle with balance, even it when it comes to something as simple as reading the news. Sometimes with a busy schedule, news just falls out of our top priorities because the articles are too long to sit down and read. Allow Gist to help you with that problem. It's an app for iOS that takes the top stories around the world plus in various categories and summarizes them in a few paragraphs, getting to just the core of the content and eliminating most of what you don't need to know. Version 3.0 of Gist adds iPhone 6 support and iPad support, making it universal. It's in the App Store for US$1.99 and requires iOS 7.0 or later.
Gist starts by showing you the top stories from around the world, aggregated from what appears to be dozens if not hundreds of news sources. It also splits news into 10 sections accessible via the menu on the left from technology to sports to entertainment. Tap any news article to get a summary of that article no longer than five sentences. The contrast between text and background gradually lessens the further down you get, a clever design choice to signify getting deeper into the article's details.
The integration with other services is a huge plus. Gist has an entire tab at the bottom dedicated to Pocket, the read-it-later service. Log in with your Pocket account to tap in to your saved articles and have Gist automatically summarize them. Gist's Settings allows for Evernote and Instapaper integration as well if you link your existing accounts.
On the other side of the bottom navigation is a Custom tab. Paste in a link or full-length text of an article and Gist summarizes what you feed it, again in just five sentences. This is great for anyone who may already have articles in mind that they want to read rather than having to browse through Gist's sources. It didn't always pull out a solid five sentences though. Sometimes Gist's summaries poorly described what was in the article. It largely depends on the way authors write their content.
Another issue I ran into a few times was slow performance. Tapping any article occasionally brings up a loading screen that says "Summarizing..." that appears for up to 10 seconds before displaying the article. Entire web pages can load quicker than this, so I'd like to see some improvement in the speed area. It's not a deal-breaker, but noticeable enough to be worth mentioning.
Version 3.0 of Gist, which I've had the privilege to use over the past few days, brings updates for iOS 8, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus support, plus makes the app universal with an iPad edition. The app looks pixel-perfect on my iPhone 6, an important quality for news and reading apps to have.
Gist is hardly the only app to summarize news stories. Circa News and Yahoo! News Digest are both free and trim down lengthy news articles each in their own unique ways. Gist's five-sentence summaries and deep integration with services like Pocket and Evernote are enough to set it apart from its competitors, despite its $1.99 price tag. Version 3.0 is out now in the App Store.